Homeschool Room Redo

I have an old post on here from last year’s homeschool room. In December, we moved to a new house where we don’t have an enclosed room for our school area. So instead, we made one of the two living rooms our school room. This room is open to the kitchen, so with it being out in the open, I really wanted to make it a space that I wouldn’t mind looking at all day long. Slowly but surely, I’m working on the gallery wall. I also updated our maps from primary colored maps to these beautiful antique-looking maps that I got from Amazon — a map of the world and one of the U.S. Our bookshelves house our small, but growing, library, as well as all of our school supplies. 

We have our ikea school desk setup right in the middle of the room. The girls and I each have a seat and a drawer unit at our big desk, and then I also have “Mom’s Command Center” in the corner of the room where my other desk is set up, as well as my desk top computer. 

We were blessed by some friends when they gave us their piano. My girls have been wanting to learn to play the piano, so we are really excited to be able to do that sometime in the near future. 

It’s been so much fun setting up and decorating this space, and it changes all the time as I continue to add more. This is our favorite room in the house; we spend most of our time here! We are very thankful for this space, as we use it for more than just “school work.” 

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

2015-2016 School Year: Week 1 & Curriculum Choices

Last week we started our new homeschool year. This is our third year of homeschooling, and I’m excited for the new adventures that await! We have been accumulating all of our new curriculum in the mail over the past few weeks, and every day the girls would tell me how much they couldn’t wait to start. With each new box that arrived, they grew more and more excited for the new school year.

The night before our “first day of homeschool,” I decorated our piano for the occasion and I went out and got what I needed to put together a little goodie basket for their first day. This is a fun little thing I’ve done each year, I guess it’s tradition now!

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The girls loved waking up to their goodies. I usually get them simple things to enjoy and a few school supplies. This year it was new water cups, a couple of snacks, notepads, pencils and pens, erasers, and some earbuds for their computer work. It doesn’t take much to make them happy.

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This year we’ve decided to return to My Father’s World curriculum. We tried something different last year and it made me realize how much we love MFW. We had so much fun with it our first year of homeschooling. I know there are differing views out there, but for me, MFW makes homeschooling such a breeze that some days I felt like we weren’t even doing much schooling. I needed to change my thinking. School SHOULD be fun and it doesn’t always have to feel like work. Looking back over the course of our first year with MFW, the girls learned so much. I look forward to seeing how this year unfolds.

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Along everything that comes with MFW (Bible, Geography, Science, Music, Art, and Read-Alouds), we’ve chosen the following for Language Arts: All About Spelling, Sequential Spelling, Total Language Plus, and Pentime.

For Math, we are using Teaching Textbooks. It’s only been one full week, but I think we have finally found a winner! We previously used workbooks for math, which got the job done. They were effective, but the girls never looked forward to math because it just wasn’t fun for them. Now, with Teaching Textbooks, they look forward to it and actually will voluntarily do more than their required lessons in one day. Winning! Their math is all done on the computer. The program makes it easy for me to keep up with what they are doing on a daily or weekly basis. Each child has their own login and password to access their lessons, and I have my own Parent login and password to access their grades to see how they’re doing. I can see if they’ve completed the lessons thoroughly and if they’ve gone back to have any incorrect answers explained to them for their better understanding. I can also allow them to redo a lesson or a problem if I feel lit’s necessary.

We also chose to add something extra for our Bible curriculum. Bible is obviously our most important subject, and although we are excited to be studying the book of Mark with ECC this year, we also wanted to add another strong Bible curriculum on top of that. After doing a little research, we chose “God’s Great Covenant” through Classical Academic Press.We will be learning in depth about the first half of the Old Testament.

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       It probably looks like we’re doing way too much, and prior to beginning our year I was really wondering if I had put too much on our plates. But considering some of these are only done on certain days of the week, and none of the subjects take very long to get through, we are averaging about 4 hours of school per day, which is awesome if you consider how many hours kids spend in public school!

So here we are, embarking on our world travel adventures with MFW, using their curriculum for Exploring Countries and Cultures (ECC). Week 1 was just the first of a 2-week introduction to ECC. We will be studying the continents, different countries as well as their cultures, with some focus on missionaries and the importance of praying for other countries that have not been exposed to the gospel. For science we are learning about ecosystems and how all things work together in this huge world that our Father created. One of the things I love the most about MFW is I feel that it does a great job of teaching from a biblical worldview and giving God glory in all things.

Here are just a few pictures of our studies in Week 1. Enjoy!

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My Story; His Glory

The Appointment

The month was December. I was 11 weeks pregnant with my first child.

I had to hurry up. My appointment was at 8:30 and we would have to make the drive through rush hour a few towns over. We would need to leave early in order to make it there on time. My sister was accompanying me to this important appointment.

We hurried out the door, got in the car, and made the drive up to the appointment.

I remember pulling up to the office building. It was small, I thought. Such a small building for this big and important appointment. We parked the car and went inside.

I walked up to the counter and signed myself in. The woman at the counter instructed me to have a seat and said someone would be with me shortly. So I sat with my sister and waited.

A while later, another woman opened the door to call the next patient. “Debbie.” That was me. It was my time. I walked up to the woman at the door and she ushered me back.

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I’m not sure how long I was on the other side of that door. My memory is pretty blank from that moment up until the next memory I have from that day. I woke up, freezing cold, in a recovery bed. I was no longer 11 weeks pregnant. I wasn’t pregnant at all. It was all over. And my only feeling was that of relief.

The Aftermath

As I sit here today recalling the memories I have of that day, what hurts the most is not the details of the events from that day, but the details of how I felt that day — or, rather, how I didn’t feel that day. I had no remorse for what I had just done. I wouldn’t even realize the magnitude of what I had just done until years later.

I remember clearly how I viewed abortion during that time in my life. I had been in a volatile relationship. I wound up pregnant because of my own stupidity, and all I could think about was the fact that I didn’t want to be tied to this person for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to have a child. I didn’t want my life to be changed forever by becoming a mother. I wasn’t ready for any of it, and I wanted this person out of my life. All I kept thinking about was me, me, me, me. Forget about adoption. Forget about keeping the baby and having nothing to do with the father. I just wanted the whole situation to go away. So I thought I could arrange for that to happen.

Today I sit here 13 ½ years later and I grieve over what I’ve done. I wish I had the sense back then to realize that this wasn’t just a problem I was solving. That was a precious child — a precious life. That was my child I arranged to have murdered. That was my child that I threw away. And that was my child that I chose not to allow to take a single breath in his or her life. It was as simple as filling out some papers, paying $70, walking in pregnant, and coming out with it all behind me…

Or so I thought.

This will never be behind me. I will live with this decision for the rest of my life. I think of my first baby often, and I realize I don’t even have the right to call him or her mine. I don’t deserve that right.

The What-Ifs

I know I can never do anything to change the past, but my mind often goes back to the what-ifs. What if I chose LIFE? What if I had someone there to stop me and tell me what the future would be like? What if someone told me that I would remember this baby years from then, and that the ugly, disgusting, evil reality of abortion would slap me in the face one day when I grew up? (Though I want to be perfectly clear, this was MY decision, and I don’t think anyone could have really stopped me.) What if I had realized that this was a human life I was allowing to be murdered? What if I stopped to consider that this was a life created by God, and that I would LOVE this child if I just gave him/her a chance to live and grow in my womb until I could hold him/her and see their face for the first time? What if I knew that this would all make indescribably painful sense one day when I had children that I actually wanted and realized the beauty and value of a human life that started in my own womb? “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

Restored by Hope

It saddens me to think that at the time of my abortion, I believed I was a Christian. I had raised my hand in church and said the sinner’s prayer probably a dozen times by that point. I thought one of those times it had to have worked. I convinced myself that the abortion would be okay because I could always ask for forgiveness later. Well, after the abortion I did talk to my own made up little god in my head and asked for forgiveness…many times, in fact. However, there was no real repentance; no evidence of me turning from my sin or that God had changed my heart, resulting in a changed life.

In the next three years that followed, I met my husband and got married. We had a rocky start to our marriage. Despite separating literally every 6 months for the first 3 years of marriage, and completely by God’s grace, we managed to have two daughters of our own in the first 2 years of marriage, then went on to have a third daughter years later, and we are currently expecting our first son. In the early years of our marriage, I went about life believing I was a Christian, saying my prayers and going to church here and there. The interesting thing about it was that I never read the Bible, and yet I believed I knew God and had a close relationship with Him. I knew the god the world told me about, and that was good enough for me. I liked this little god; he didn’t require much of me. The trouble with this little god was that he couldn’t forgive me for my abortion. I still lived under the guilt and shame of my past, and no matter how many times I asked for forgiveness, the guilt and shame never went away. I was sure this little god could never forgive me and that I was destined for hell because of what I’d done.

Fast-forward to two years ago, 11 years after the abortion and 8 years into my marriage. By the grace of God, my family started attending a church regularly and I began to really read the Bible for the first time in my life. I attended a women’s summer Bible study through my church. I remember carefully and prayerfully choosing which Bible study I should sign up for, out of the several that were being offered that summer. I chose the Virtuous Woman study, based on the Proverbs 31 woman. I had my own ideas and expectations of what I wanted to get out of this study, but God had other plans. I believe it was during that study that God saved me.

One night during my study, I came to a part in my Bible reading of the book of John where it took me through the story of the Samaritan Woman. This particular part of the study also walked me through a portion of the book of John, where I read about Jesus’ crucifixion and His death. I vividly remember reading John 19:30, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished,’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” That one single verse just hit me like a ton of bricks. For the very first time, my eyes were opened and I was able to see who I was before a Holy God. I was broken before the Lord, grieving over my sin and what it cost precious Jesus. By God’s grace I was able to finally put my faith in Jesus Christ and accept forgiveness for my sin. I bowed my head in tears and laid it all at the foot of the cross. The guilt. The shame. I finally knew that I was forgiven. Not only for the abortion, but every sinful way in me. God took out my heart of stone and granted me a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:36 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”) He caused me to lay my life down for Him, to take up my cross and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'”) I died to my sin that day and became alive in Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:11 “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”) I was born again…FORGIVEN. I was restored to a right relationship with God for eternity by the power of His infinite love and mercy, and I finally knew that my sins had been washed away forever.

The most beautiful part about all of this is that it was all God and His grace, granting me the free gift of repentance and faith. I contributed nothing except the sin that made it necesarry.

It is Finished

One thing I realized that night was that Jesus paid it all, and His finished work on the cross was enough to cover my sin. The meaning of that finally hit me. “It is FINISHED.” I had lived for years thinking that God could never truly forgive me for what I had done. That night I realized that in thinking God could never forgive me for my abortion, I was essentially saying that Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t enough to cover my sin. I was so wrong. His grace and love are far greater than my sin.

Coming out and sharing my story publicly isn’t easy. But when the Lord granted me repentance and brought me to Truth, I started to learn about the sovereignty of God and how that ties in to my past. I know He has a plan for my story and that doesn’t involve keeping it to myself.

As ugly as abortion is and as horrific as it is to now understand the reality of my actions, I know that God is sovereign in all of it, and that gives me hope because I know that He has a greater plan and a purpose for what happened. Romans 8:28 “ And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Everything works out one way or another for the glory of God and for the good of His children. I believe the Lord wants to use my story to bring glory to His name and to touch the lives of other girls or women who might be in a similar situation. It is my hope and my prayer that by sharing my story, it might help other women think differently about abortion and that anyone who reads this and is considering abortion might think twice about the tiny precious life inside of them. I didn’t see my pregnancy as a life inside of me. I saw it as a problem that I could easily get rid of. It doesn’t work that way. Even as I sit here forgiven and free from the guilt and shame, I will always grieve over the child I will never get to meet in this life because of my selfish decision. 

I wish I had someone there in December 2001 to tell me all of these things. I didn’t. Not one person warned me about the reality of abortion. Not a single person tried to help me understand what I was about to do. I wish they had, but I know that God sovereignly decreed for all of this to happen for a bigger purpose. I am forever grateful for His grace and mercy, and I give my life and my story to Him, that He might use it however He wills.

The Good News

Aside from shedding some light on the reality of abortion and the fact that it isn’t just a simple choice that you make and then move on with your life, I pray that my story is useful in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope, salvation, and freedom from guilt and sin that can only be found in Him. If you’ve been living in unrepentant sin, or if you’ve been weighed down by some sin that has you plagued with guilt, know this: You are not alone. Every one of us is is a sinner in need of THE Savior.   “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” -Romans 3:23.

Even though we are sinners who deserve hell for sinning against a holy God, God in His infinite love and mercy has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him. He provided a Savior — His son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who lived a perfectly sinless life and died on the cross, suffering the wrath of God for the sins of all those who will turn and trust in Him. Three days later, Christ defeated death and rose from the grave.

God commands us to turn from our sin and put our faith in Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation. If we turn to God and put our faith in Christ, we are saved and born again, restored to a right relationship with God our Father for eternity. All of our sins are imputed to Christ who has already paid the penalty for those sins, but it doesn’t stop there. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us, so when God sees us, He doesn’t see a sinner, He sees His Son. This is the reality for all who repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

If you want to be forgiven for your sins and have your heart changed forever, I’m not going to tell you to repeat after me, say a scripted prayer, and raise your hand. All I’m going to tell you is that Jesus is the only way and God alone has the power to save. Turn to someone who knows about the gospel and can point you to Christ. Repent — turn from your sins and ask God for forgiveness. You need to start reading the Bible and yes, pray. If it’s God’s will for you to come to true repentance and faith, to call on Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then He is the One who will change your heart and grant you repentance and faith. Especially by the reading of His word. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” -Romans 10:17

In the Bible, God promises us that His word never comes back void. It will accomplish everything God wants it to. “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” -Isaiah 55:11

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13

Scripture Doodle Part 2

I know it’s been months since my last post. I hope to start posting more, but our home life keeps me pretty busy and blogging has not been a priority. It is something I truly enjoy, though, so I hope to be able to start blogging more regularly. 

For now I thought I would share some of my more recent scripture doodles. I think I’ve developed my own sort of style for this, and honestly doodling with scripture is something anyone can do. It doesn’t have to look like anything in particular, so don’t feel like you have to follow mine or anyone else’s style. Find your own style and roll with it! The benefits of meditating on God’s word “day and night” like Psalm 1 says makes it worth the time even if you don’t think you’re great at it. 

I’ve also moved on to a couple of other aspects of scripture doodling. I invested in a journaling bible and sometimes doodle in there during my reading. I have also started making chalkboard signs with my own original scripture doodle designs. I hope these will inspire you to get started on your own scripture doodle journey if you haven’t started!

   
                                     

Scripture Doodles

I guess you could say I’m an artsy person. While I can’t actually draw or paint to save my life, God did create me to love and be pretty good at crafting. And recently, I’m realizing that He also made me a good doodler. Sounds silly, but I’m serious!

On Sundays, you can often find me sitting at church doodling away in my sermon notes notebook. But the funny thing is that while I’m doodling to my heart’s content, I am also listening intently and stopping to take notes left and right. It’s how I function!

Recently, I started doodling scriptures for the fun of it. Then I realized what I was actually doing. I was meditating on and memorizing my scripture as I doodled away!

What a fun and relaxing way to meditate on scripture and memorize it as you go. If you’re a doodler or an artsy person at all, give this little hobby a try and see how the Lord might use it to grow you in the Word. Memorizing scripture is something I’ve been wanting to do more of, and I’m so glad I’ve stumbled upon this fun way of doing just that. I bought a 3-pack of pretty notebooks to use for scripture doodles and bible study notes, so stay tuned and I will periodically post some of my latest doodles!

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

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Goodbye Halloween, Hello Harvest!

The best season of the year, hands down, is Fall. This is of course only my humble opinion. I love the Fall because here in California, it’s when the very hot weather begins to cool down to enjoyable temperatures. I love all the beautiful colors of fall and all of the delicious flavors that come with it. I especially love that the fall brings the beginning of the holiday season.

The first of the holiday lineup is, of course, Halloween. Prior to this year, I have always enjoyed celebrating Halloween with my kids. Partly because it is also my birthday, but mostly because it was so fun to dress them up, and it brought back some of my favorite childhood memories. I had always been a lover of Halloween, spooky stories, scary movies, and of course — yup, you guessed it…candy! I mean, who doesn’t want free candy? There were even a couple of years that I declared October “horror movie marathon month” for my husband and I. Poor hubs. He wasn’t a big fan of scary movies like I was, but he went along with it anyway.

This year, the fall season is being celebrated (and even decorated in our home) much differently than past years. The Lord has enlightened me to some things that have convicted me on why we celebrate Halloween and where our focus should be instead. My husband has never been a big fan of Halloween, but with the direction The Lord has led us in the past couple of years, it has just solidified his feelings about the whole Halloween situation, and he has made the firm decision that Halloween will be no more for our family.

Here is a passage from the Bible that The Lord has impressed upon my heart regarding this:

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7

I can only speak for myself in humbly admitting that celebrating Halloween meant celebrating darkness, but I have only recently come to this admission. In the past, as a professing Christian, I had reasons that justified why it was okay for me to continue celebrating Halloween. I didn’t want to admit that it had anything to do with the darkness in this world. But I was lying to myself! It absolutely had everything to do with darkness. Right down to convincing my husband to participate in my horror movie marathon! Praise God for changing me and for His grace allowing me to see the truth in my life regarding this issue.

But just because we are setting aside all of the candy, costumes, and darkness of it all, doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate this beautiful time of year for purer reasons. After all, it is still my favorite season. God made the fall season, the harvest, and all of the natural goodness that comes with it, so it’s good to enjoy those sweet blessings and appreciate God’s creation — as we should with any other time of year…this just happens to be my favorite!

So this year we will forgo all of the usual Halloween hocus pocus and instead we will be enjoying the harvest months, the weather, the pumpkin patch, the apple farm, the beautifully colored trees, hay rides, etc. I am even enjoying bringing some fall cheer to our home with some inexpensive Fall decor.

I picked up a few little fall knick knacks from Hobby Lobby, including some wooden signs and a few little pumpkins. I found some cute $3 candle lanterns at Target, as well as a couple of mini straw dolls and a few $1 packs of fall-colored paper leaves. I attached the leaves to some twine and made a fall garland. And then I decorated my big chalkboard sign with a fun fall poem.

For the chalkboard, I searched all over the internet for the right poem or saying that would give glory to God for His creation of all things Fall, but I couldn’t find anything that seemed just right. So I settled on making up my own little rhyme for the board:

Autumn trees from God’s sweet grace,
Colorful leaves all over the place.
Pumpkins, hayrides, chilly air,
Harvest blessings everywhere.

Enjoy a few pictures of our Fall decor. It’s not much, but we definitely feel the fall cheer while we are at home!

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Pre-Week Prep!

Every week, I try to take my weekends to prepare for the upcoming week and make sure I’m ready to make the most of the lessons The Lord has in store for us that week. These past couple of weekends have been packed, but a true blessing to spend so much time with some of the people that God has used to bless our lives.

Needless to say, due to our busy past couple of weekends, I haven’t been as ready and prepared as I would like to be when Monday comes around and we are starting a new unit/week. However, we have actually been able to get our 5 days of school done in just 4 days the past two weeks, so not having a lot of time to prep obviously hasn’t hindered us too much.

One thing that doesn’t take a lot of time and really helps me to know ahead of time what we will be studying, is my big DIY chalkboard. On Sunday nights, I fill out our weekly overview to reflect what we have going on for the upcoming week. This information includes what week/unit we are on, the current biblical character trait, the weekly memory verse, the bible verse for the current science lesson, and a list of the topics we will be covering in science and history.

This is an easy way to have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen for the week. I can feel prepared even if I haven’t had as much prep time as I would have liked. It also helps the girls out so they can know what to expect for the week. Having the memory verse on the big board is also great for helping them memorize it, since it’s so big it’s hard to miss!

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If you’re interested in making your own DIY chalkboard like mine, you can do it! The board itself only cost about $4 (plus the cost of chalkboard paint, but I already had that on hand). My chalkboard is made out of an 8×4 ft piece of MDF board from Home Depot. I just covered it in 3 coats of chalkboard paint and then literally just nailed it to the wall. Super easy!